In Brief: National, WA home starts up

THE number of new home starts in Australia increased in the December quarter, despite the rise in interest rates the month before. New home building starts lifted by 2.6 per cent to 39,477 units, seasonally adjusted, in the December quarter of 2007, according to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It was the second consecutive quarter that home dwelling commencements increased, after September quarter commencements rose by 1.2 per cent. The ABS said total dwelling commencements increased 2.6 per cent, seasonally adjusted, in the 2007 calendar year. However, the increase in new home starts in December as not enough to make 2007 a strong year, the peak housing industry body said. The Housing Industry Association said new housing starts of 153,213 in 2007 were “effectively flat” when compared with the previous year. Western Australia posted a 5.5 per cent rise in housing starts, below Queensland (9.6 per cent), Tasmania (8.9 per cent) and Victoria (8.4 per cent). NSW had a 12.4 per cent fall, while the Northern Territory was down 33.4 per cent.

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